Mid-Week Puzzler: Why do I Hoard Running Shoes?

I seem to confess a lot in this space. I’ve confessed my FOME, my fear of falling off mountains, and my disdain for running in herds. Today, I have yet another confession to make: I am a slob.  For as long as I can remember, I have been a slob. Open any cabinet, closet or drawer and you will quickly see evidence of my pigpen ways.  This is important context, I promise.

Because I am a slob, I frequently have to dig through my front closet in search of random shoes.  My front closet has zero organizational order and has become a collection space for everything from my recycling to my cleaning supplies to my coats and my shoes.  It is total and complete chaos in there. I would include a picture but it fills me with too much shame. Again, I swear this is important context.

As a result of the careless abandon with which I throw everything into this closet, I can rarely find and extract a matching pair of shoes without pulling almost everything out of my closet.  Trust me, I’m getting to my point.

In the course of trying to find a “missing” (i.e. hopelessly buried) second shoe recently, I realized that I have not one, not two, not three or even four, but five pairs of running shoes.  At home. In my front closet.  I have another two pairs of running shoes at work in a drawer next to my desk.  I have two pairs of trail shoes on my patio. I have one pair of hiking boots in my flex room.

That’s 10 pairs of running or trail shoes. At one time.

I’m sure for actual distance runners and competitive types that’s actually normal.  But here’s the thing, I am not a competitive runner or a real distance runner.  And, even worse, of the 10 pairs of shoes that are currently in my possession, I wear exactly 4 on the regular. That means I’m holding on to 6 pairs of shoes for no reason except that I keep thinking “maybe one day I’ll need them.”

Let’s explore why this is ridiculous:

  • 1 pair of trail shoes has shoelaces broken in multiple spots, and I’ve repaired the laces simply by tying them together. The laces are now a sea of knots and they cannot be tightened because the knots won’t fit through the holes. They are no longer waterproof. Their seams are torn. They smell…well-worn. In short, they need to meet their maker.
  • 1 pair of shoes are the dreaded minimalist runners that led to many an injury.  Sure they look flashy, but I can’t run in them.  They are currently being imprisoned in my desk drawer as punishment for the injuries they caused.
  • 2 pairs of running shoes have giant, gaping holes either along the soles or on the toe basket. They, too, smell well-worn.  They have zero cushion remaining and would surely punish every joint in my body if I were to wear them.
  • 1 pair of running shoes are the wrong size. I kept them and used them back in the day because running shoes are expensive and I was poor.  They have long since been replaced with appropriately sized footwear.  There is no reason to threaten my toes with that kind of discomfort ever again.
  • 1 pair of running shoes barely resembles running shoes.  There is no evidence of grip pattern. There are so many holes that they more closely resemble sandals than shoes.  One of the shoes is missing its shoelace.
  • I have moved these shoes from city to city over the years, unwilling to part with them.  I do not know why.  Is it laziness? Is it slovenly ways? Is it hoarding? Or, perhaps, is there an emotional attachment that exists just beneath my level of consciousness?  Those shoes have covered a lot of miles and terrain. They’ve seen me in my best moments and my worst moments.  They’ve stuck with me as I hobbled in injury. They’ve carried me across finish lines.

    So maybe one day I’ll let go of my hoarding ways and finally kick them to the curb.  But for today, I think I’ll hang on to them a little bit longer. You never know when a hole-riddled-smelly-one-shoelaced sneaker might be just what I need…


    2 thoughts on “Mid-Week Puzzler: Why do I Hoard Running Shoes?”

    1. I’m glad I discovered your blog-it’s fun to read and interesting! Way to go with your goal.
      I confess this title caught my eye, reminding me of the 6 pairs of retired rock climbing shoes harboured in the bottom of my closet…And since climbing shoes are worn barefoot&brutally tight, they do not add a pleasant look or odour to the closet. 😛


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